I live in the Westminster area of central London – Pimlico to be exact – and I am planning to get out of London next year when the Olympic Games are on and spend some time with my Dad and also travel abroad to get away from the mayhem. Luckily, my job enables me to work remotely for a while.
Sometimes, when friends ask me about this, they ask if I am thinking of letting out my property for a couple of weeks or whatever, and earn a bit of extra cash to compensate for the cost of paying for the Games and the associated hassles. In general, I am against the idea of letting my place to strangers, and would only consider letting it to people I know and trust. (I am worried about strangers stealing my entire Robert Heinlein collection, 50th anniversary Playboy album and cufflinks. You know how it is). However, it turns out that Westminster City Council has decided to kill the idea anyway – people who let properties for short periods without permission will, it says, be fined. Other London boroughs are taking a more liberal line.
I was not aware that to let out my property for a few days or weeks was something that the council had any power to prevent. Now we know better, alas.
Suppose I decide to let my Dad house-sit my place for a few days, or let other relatives use my place and possibly reimburse me for the electricity, gas and water bills. It appears that the council officials are entitled to check who is in properties during the Games and make sure they are not being used illegally as rentals.
Of course, some people will chance it and let their places out. I must say, Britain is becoming more like East Germany. That country liked its Olympics, if I recall.
The next time anyone talks about the UK and property ownership, please try not to laugh.
Update: The commenter Laird asks if we could legally challenge this edict. I suppose it is possible.